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The American television game show The Price Is Right has, since its 1972 relaunch, had a stable of models to showcase the prizes and items that are given away on the show. From 1972–2007, the group was referred to as Barker's Beauties, a term coined by producer Mark Goodson.
The original Price Is Right also employed models. Usually, two models appeared per episode to model the prizes, much in the same tradition as the later incarnations. As was the case with the Carey-era of the current version, the models were not referred to specifically by a nickname.
June Ferguson and Toni Wallace were the regular models, staying with the program for its entire nine-year run. Various other models either assisted Ferguson and Wallace, or appeared during their absences.
Over 25 women have appeared as models on The Price Is Right since the program's premiere. For the first three years, there were two models – Janice Pennington and Anitra Ford. Dian Parkinson joined Pennington and Ford in 1975 after previously appearing periodically as a substitute model.
Ford left the program in 1976 and was later replaced by Holly Hallstrom who joined the cast in 1977. Pennington, Parkinson and Hallstrom appeared as the three main models on both the daytime and syndicated versions of the show from the mid-1970s through the early 1990s.
In December 1990, the three were joined by the program's first permanent African American model, Kathleen Bradley. During this period, Kyle Aletter appeared as the substitute model whenever one of the principal models was unable to appear in a given episode.
Parkinson left the show in 1993 "to pursue other interests" as stated by Barker, although speculation among some felt her departure was due to ongoing difficulties with Pennington. The following year, Parkinson filed a litigation suit claiming that Barker had been sexually harassing her beginning in the 1980s. Parkinson withdrew the suit in 1995.
Parkinson was replaced by several other women (including Cindy Margolis) until Gena Lee Nolin was hired in 1993. Hallstrom was dismissed from the show in 1995 by Barker on the basis of weight gain (due to prescription medication), although Hallstrom alleged that she was dismissed for her refusal to support Barker in his then-ongoing litigation with Parkinson. Barker sued Hallstrom for slander and libel and Hallstrom countersued Barker for wrongful termination and age, weight and medical discrimination. Eventually, Hallstrom was awarded a multi-million dollar settlement in 2005.
In 2000, Pennington and Bradley were dismissed from the program in (what was claimed as) an attempt to attract a younger demographic. Their dismissals came after Barker's failed lawsuit against Hallstrom. Both Pennington and Bradley filed for wrongful termination and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
Pennington and Bradley were replaced by Heather Kozar and Claudia Jordan in 2000. Ziering and Kozar both left the program in 2002. At that time, Jordan became the only "permanent" model and was joined by a rotating cast of additional models.
Jordan's departure came in 2003 after she formally complained about racial discrimination on the set. Jordan filed for wrongful termination and racial discrimination and also received an out of court settlement. After Jordan's dismissal, The Price Is Right no longer featured the same model or group of models on a daily basis. In addition to several models who are more-or-less a permanent part of the cast, new models appear every few weeks who sometimes eventually join the rotation, or other times appear for a single set of tapings. That procedure was changed in late 2008 as contracts expired.
Drew Carey has indicated in an interview with USA Today that he prefers to simply refer to the models by name as opposed to giving them a nickname. In addition, they are now referred as "The Price Is Right Models" when making public appearances with Carey, such as at the 2008 Pepsi 500, where Carey was the grand marshal, and the Seattle Sounders FC fashion gala where the Major League Soccer team, of which Carey is a minority owner, unveiled their new uniforms for the 2009 season. As part of the change, the show's models are now listed in the show's full credit roll, starting with December 2009 episodes, just before the announcer is listed in the credit roll. Beginning in the 2010 season, the models wear microphones so they can be heard as they're talking with Carey or the contestant, and on some episodes only two models are used, with the announcer serving as a third model for games using three models.
Since Drew Carey became host in 2007, celebrities and sports professionals have appeared during specific segments (especially Showcases themed around the subject) on many episodes to promote prizes related to their professions, including Wayne Newton, Lou Ferrigno, Reba McEntire, Jim Nantz, Heidi Newfield, the United States women's national soccer team, Chuck Finley, Edwin Aldrin, Jr., Carl Edwards, Katie Stam, Blake Shelton, and WWE Divas Kelly Kelly and the Bella Twins.
During season 37, manufacturers of products began offering their representatives to model the equipment, such as athletes signed to play with that brand's equipment or who represent a specific sports manufacturer, musicians under contract with the instrument's manufacturer or corporate representatives of another product or service. They have mostly appeared during One Bids but also during the Showcase. Carey will introduce the individual modeling the prize and their affiliation to the manufacturer or prize provider.
In both 2009 and 2010, Kathy Kinney appeared on the April Fool's Day episodes, reprising her role as Mimi Bobeck from The Drew Carey Show. In 2009, she appeared as a model, and in 2010, she acted as the executive producer, with the show's models trading places with three male staffers.
Often, a crossover with other CBS daytime or prime-time shows will be included with the stars of those shows in question modeling prizes. These crossovers have included The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Amazing Race, Let's Make a Deal, The Bold and the Beautiful, and The Young and the Restless. Tiffany Coyne (from Let's Make a Deal) filled in as the fifth model on some episodes which aired in March 2011. Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby from The Young and the Restless) frequently crosses over as a guest model, especially when a Showcase skit necessitates, and when needed, for "masculine" prizes (motorcycles, trucks, et al.). Goddard's use as a crossover model, along with the traditionally female audience for daytime television, resulted in the show standardizing the occasional use of a male model for such prizes for season 41, although such models will typically be crossover or aspiring actors in a Web series on the show's Web site, where the show's four models and Executive Producer Michael G. Richards will determine the winner.
The Mother's Day 2012 episode (May 11, 2012) featured two guest models joining the show's three models, fitting with the theme. Florence Henderson and personal trainer Johannes Brugger (the show's first non-crossover or product placement male guest model) were used together. Two male models, the father and son combination of Kenny Smith and son Malloy, are the husband and son of show model Gwendolyn Osborne, and they announced Gwendolyn's pregnacy on that episode.
Two of the show's current four models, Rachel Reynolds and Gwendolyn Osborne, have modeled along with their husbands. Reynolds and David Delucci modeled wedding formalwear in 2010, and Osborne has modeled both with her husband, TNT NBA analyst Kenny Smith (a crossover with the CBS/Turner NCAA March Madness), and son Molloy. In 2012 (one in season 40, one in season 41), both models announced on the show they were expecting by being alongside their husbands (and in Osborne's case, with their son).
In some cases, production staff and family members have modeled prizes. Then-associate producer Kathy Greco appeared on-camera as one of the models for an entire episode, and her husband Frank, a Los Angeles-area golf professional, modeled golf clubs. Sherell Paris, an executive assistant and former member of a pop trio of sisters, once modeled a karaoke machine. In some cases, children of staff will model children's merchandise used as prizes.
The announcer models men's watches, suits, and accessories used as prizes, a practice that has been used with all four permanent announcers (Johnny Olson, Rod Roddy, Rich Fields, George Gray) and the majority of substitute announcers (although this was rare between 2000–2008). The announcer also appeared in Showcase skits, sometimes modeling the prizes or playing a character in a story line. Starting in 2010, on episodes where two models are used in games requiring three models, the announcer will assume the third model's duties and often is paired with another model describing prizes. With a video screen added to the announcer's podium in 2011 tapings, a prize (or graphics for trips) may be displayed on the announcer's podium, and some prizes (such as a laptop computer) may be modeled by the announcer from his podium.
Former FremantleMedia staffer Mandel Ilagan, who developed 1/2 Off, played a piano offered as a prize in 2009.
During the April 1, 2010 episode, in fitting the April Fool's Day theme of the episode, three different members of the production staff swapped roles with the models.
In addition to the litigation suits, several other staff members have filed lawsuits against Barker and the program, alleging sexual harassment and wrongful termination. After Parkinson brought forth sexual harassment allegations against Barker, he called a press conference to admit a past consensual sexual relationship with her.
When asked in a USA Today interview about the four most famous Beauties (Bradley, Hallstrom, Parkinson, and Pennington), Barker replied, "They've been such a problem. I don't want to say anything about them. They're disgusting; I don't want to mention them." Barker gave praise to the rotating models featured during his last years as host of the program, calling them "the best models we've ever had."
Two other Barker-era models who were added in the 2000s and went through the host transition have also filed lawsuits, with lawsuits targeting Executive Producer Mike Richards and producer Adam Sandler (not to be confused with the film star) for inappropriate behaviour on the set.
The daytime models appeared on the 1970s syndicated nighttime version as well, with a few notable exceptions. In the earliest episodes, a third model named Harriet was present; her last name is unknown, but she holds the distinction of being Price's first black model. Additional models besides Parkinson were also featured on the nighttime show, including Janice's sister Ann Pennington and a model named Jenny who even had a Showcase with her as the main character, in which she was an artist painting the contestant's prizes.
On the 1985 syndicated version, Pennington, Parkinson, and Hallstrom appeared throughout the run. However, on the 1994 syndicated version, an entirely separate cast of models was featured: Julie Lynn Cialini, Ferrari Farris, and Lisa Stahl.
Since the premiere of the CBS prime time series in 2002 and beginning with The Price Is Right $1,000,000 Spectaculars in 2003, there are often situations where four to seven models appear on each episode.
|First Hispanic model; participated in 2008 model search; joined cast during Brandi Sherwood's pregnancy|
|First African American model on the daytime show|
|Filed lawsuit against FremantleMedia/RTL Group, Executive Producer Michael G. Richards and Producer Adam Sandler over questionable behavior by both staffers|
|Left in 1983, returned in 1984|
|Gena Lee Nolin|
|Has often modeled with her son and her husband|
|Rebecca Mary Pribonic|
|Has modeled with her husband|
|Sherwood was dismissed from the show on February 23, 2010 and later filed a lawsuit against FremantleMedia/RTL Group and CBS|
|The first permanent male model to be on the American version of the show|